An informative Q&A with Tracy Staten, a social media consultant!
Meet Tracy Staten! She’s a social media consultant who helps small businesses and entrepreneurs take the overwhelm out of social media—making it simple and fun. For nearly two years, she traveled and documented her adventures, gaining a reputation online. So much that people started asking her for social media help. Besides helping small businesses, Tracy was also a dance instructor, where advertising for lessons, dances, events, etc. was a big part of the job.
Here are a few tips for small businesses (and authors—because authorship is a business as well) who want to utilize Facebook (FB) and Instagram (IG) better. At the end of the Q&A with Tracy, a FREE opportunity is revealed.
*If you haven’t started an IG account but want to know how, view this article: Instagram 101: Understanding the Basics.
Social Media Basics
When it comes to Facebook and Instagram, do you advise treating the two platforms differently or similarly?
TRACY: I definitely advise treating them differently. Instagram is more about imagery and quick videos and SHOWING. If you think about it ... on IG, the IMAGE comes first in the scroll, so that’s an important aspect, then you have three lines showing. Those three lines need to be eye-catching if you want someone to read it. But, you have to get their attention with the image FIRST.
Regarding Facebook, the TEXT comes first. So it’s more about telling stories. You don’t have a text limit, but you should vary (on both platforms) the length of your text/copy. When text is attached to images, you might have up to seven lines visible as opposed to IG’s restriction of three lines. Are the first few lines still crucial on Facebook? Yes. But You have more room.
Are hashtags more helpful or least helpful when posting on Facebook? In other words, have you found that Facebook’s algorithms frown upon hashtags?
TRACY: Facebook is JUST NOW starting to get into hashtags, which means the data showing which hashtags work better on that platform is still forming; the hashtags you use on FB may or may not have the same effect on IG (and vice versa).
It used to be a “rule” not to use more than two hashtags on FB because it would NEGATIVELY impact your post. For FB, since the hashtag algorithm is still so new, stick to minimal hashtags for now. But test it on occasion to see how it impacts your posts either way.
A taboo to watch out for is … Many people will post to IG and then copy to other platforms, such as FB, without removing the @ mentions. This is off-putting to others as you are obviously speaking to IG and not to FB. So be sure you remove the @ symbols when going from IG to FB.
How many hashtags are too many, regarding Instagram and Facebook? I know IG has a limit of 30 hashtags per post, but let’s pretend it didn’t.
TRACY: It’s better to have fifteen useful hashtags rather than thirty just to fill the spot. But make sure the hashtags have to do with the image and the post. Too often, people put hashtags that have nothing to do with either.
Taking It Further
Is it better to use the same hashtags for social media posts or switch them up?
TRACY: The ones exclusive to YOU, such as your business’s name, pen name, or title of your book(s), keep them because you’re trying to grow them. But hashtags are basically used as a search tool like in Google, so you need to think about your audience—your ideal client—what THEY would search for—and go from there.
Also, bring in what’s in the actual image. For example, if you visited a coffee shop in Fort Worth, you could add #CoffeeShopFortWorth and name the Coffee shop with the “location” feature.
When scheduling posts on the two platforms (FB and IG), how many posts per week are beneficial?
TRACY: Consistency is everything. If you can only be consistent posting three days a week, then do that. Will it have a large impact? Some. But likely not as much as you’d like. An audience wants to know you’re there. They WANT to see you! So knowing you’re there builds your KLT factor (know-like-trust). My suggestion is to post 5-7 times a week on FB & IG, but rotate the posts from one to the other on varying days.
What do I mean by “rotate”? If you post X on FB on Monday, you should post the same post (with a few changes for the audience switch, such as hashtags, @ mentions, or add “link in bio” for IG, remove link from texts, etc.) on IG on Thursday. Then your FB post’s on Tuesday would be your IG on Friday, etc., and so on. You can even change the image from one platform to the other if you want, but you don’t have to.
What’s the number one piece of advice you’d like to give regarding hashtags and social media?
TRACY: Think about the hashtags you use. If you want them to be effective, don’t just throw up any old thing.
Specific Tips for Using Hashtags
TRACY: When you search hashtags on IG, choose one that has less than “1 million posts.” Think of something your ideal client would search.
TRACY: There are no right or wrong hashtags. It just takes time to figure out what works for you. You can also try adding an emoji to the end of your hashtags, such as #morningcoffee☕️; sometimes this can have better numbers (less than 500,000) and boost your discoverability.
I highly suggest that you have a place to store your regularly used hashtags. Either in a scheduling platform or a spreadsheet. (I have this in my Business & Social Media Road Map I offer to clients.)
Dawn Husted progressed into offering her editing services to clients in 2016, eventually opening Yaupon Berry Press LLC. She's constantly learning new ways of helping clients stay relevant in today’s market, whether by using an SEO strategy targeting high-trafficked keywords or simply editing their content. Dawn lives in central Texas with her husband, two energetic kids and an adorable golden retriever.
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